Meet our instructors!
You definitely understand child development and the variable paths that your students will take. I think you can equally teach students who want to become concert pianists or merely develop their hobby. Mary Weatherington, Parent
Ms. Debbie is a graduate of the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. She has taught music at the elementary, middle, and high school levels for many years. She has collaborated musically with local musicians for over 30 years leading school choirs, church choirs, and community-based choruses. Ms. Debbie is also a committed church musician, having served most recently as Director of Music and Organist at St. John United Church of Christ in Reading, OH.
Ms. Carmen comes from a large family of musicians. She started taking piano lessons at age 8 and has been teaching piano students since she was 15 years old. She spent a year attending school in Salzburg, Austria and experiencing its musical culture under the Rotary Exchange Student Program. Ms. Carmen studied piano under Dr. Thomas Lanners at Oklahoma State University where she earned her Bachelor's Degree in Music. She has taught music in public and private schools in Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee. She and her husband have been West Chester Academy parents since 2013, and their children can be found in the dance and music hallways in the building year round. Ms. Carmen is the director of a family scholarship foundation and enjoys researching genealogy and sharing her family’s history in books and video projects. She is a member of the Music Teachers National Association.
Ms. Sara started taking piano lessons when she was in 2nd grade and by age 14, she was hired as a church pianist in her hometown of Marysville, Ohio. In school she also played the French horn, viola and sang in the choir. After graduating from Miami University in 1985 with a degree in Music Education, Ms. Sara taught elementary general (K-8) and choral music in Middletown City Schools and Springboro Community Schools for 18 years. She has taught private piano lessons in various settings throughout her career. She has been active in local community theater as a music/vocal director (and sometimes on stage) for Mason Community Players, Lebanon Theatre Company and Middletown Lyric Theatre. Presently, Ms. Sara serves as the Music Director for the Miami Valley U.U. Fellowship in Centerville.
Mr. Robby has a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from Miami University. While attending Miami he has been the pianist in Miami’s Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combo and has also participated in both Wind Ensemble and Chamber Music concerts. He had the opportunity to perform at Carnegy Hall with Miami’s Jazz Ensemble in 2012. He has received many honors while at Miami, such as the Miami University’s Owls Music Scholarship Award in 2013 and 2014, Mary Rees Piano Scholarship Award in 2015 and the Tom Teiney II Music Scholarship Award in 2015. Mr. Robby studied under Dr. Frank Haung.
At the beginning of Ms. Carmen's final year in the pursuit of a music education degree, newly married, her husband received notice of his military duty, which took them to Germany. A new path in music was initiated there as the Ms. Carmen Trio performed at a jazz festival and various NCO and Service Clubs. Upon returning to the States, the stage was set for a 30-year career of vocal/piano performance in fine dining establishments, night clubs, hotels, etc. She initiated many aspects of musical service at Montgomery Assembly of God, Cincinnati, which led to a position as director in music ministry for 10 years, but continuing into the present as accompanist, which is of particular delight to her. Her teaching career began while in high school, giving accordion lessons to beginners. Piano instruction involving ages 6 to 65 and beyond wound throughout these activities. Equipping her students with the very best possible tools for their learning and future capabilities is Ms. Carmen's continual challenge.
Mr. Rick received his Bachelor of Music degree in music education from Ohio University in Athens, OH in 1974. He has had the opportunity to both teach and direct individuals and groups of all ages. His piano students have ranged from 3 to 60+ years old. His vocal coaching has encompassed children, youth, and adults. He spent 3 years as the American musical trainer for the India Children's Choir. Mr. Rick has taught preschool music education classes as well as general elementary music classes. His approach to music education is one of facilitating enjoyment and early success, combining the interests and desires of the student with proven technical, rudimentary, and theory skills. Though teaching music is a serious passion with Rick, he encourages and fosters a relaxed, fun approach with his students.
Ms. Beth is passionate about music. She began playing piano at age 7 and has been playing for church and choirs since her high school days. She studied piano and voice at Warner University (Florida) where she was able to participate in and travel with various choirs and ensembles. Ms. Beth began teaching piano in 1995. Married to a pastor, she has five children, all of whom excel in music. She loves teaching and is able to help her students develop proficiency in mastering the piano and in music theory.
Mr. William is in demand as a classical pianist, jazz pianist, electronic keyboardist, and educator. He began studying piano at age nine and received a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from Stetson University, studying with Dr. Michael Rickman, and a Master of Music in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from Florida State University, studying with Dr. Joel Hastings and Dr. Diana Dumlavwalla. Mr. William has traveled extensively throughout Europe and the United States to perform and to study with world-renowned pedagogues. He also performs as a jazz musician in large ensembles, small ensembles and as a soloist, and performs with pop music bands as a keyboardist. He is an active member of Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), frequently presenting his pedagogical research at conferences, founding two student chapters, running the Young Artist division of the Florida MTNA competitions and serving as president of Mid-State Music Teachers Association.
A graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, Ms. Jenna has studied piano since age five. Ms. Jenna is certified as a Music for Young Children instructor and a Music Pups instructor. She has won numerous competitions, and has attended summer camps and workshops. She is a member of the Music Teachers National Association and served as the Event Chair of the OMTA Masquerade Musicale. She teaches private and group piano lessons.
Born and raised in Bulgaria, Ms. Dennitza started her formal music education at the age of 6 at the prestigious Dobrin Petkov Music School in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. After completing high school, MMs. Dennitza came to the United States to continue her studies with Dr. Virginia-Gene Rittenhouse and later Ms. Eda Mazzo Shlyam. She obtained her BM in Piano Performance at the Atlantic Union College and MM in Piano Performance at the Longy School of Music. Ms. Dennitza has performed as a soloist with the NEYE in US, Canada and Mexico. She has given recitals in Europe and the United States. Ms. Dennitza has been teaching piano since 2003 and is excited to share her love of music with her students.
Ms. Vi Vien was born and raised in Malaysia. She achieved her Masters Degree in Piano Performance from Miami University under the tutelage of Dr. Siok Lian Tan, and Bachelor Degree in Piano Performance from University Putra Malaysia (UPM). She taught college music majors in functional group piano classes and collaborating with singers and instrumentalists under her graduate assistantship award. Ms Vi Vien was also a keyboardist in MU Symphony Orchestra playing the piano and celesta under the baton of Dr. Ricardo Averbach. In the United States, she is a certified Piano Suzuki Teacher from the Suzuki Association of America (SAA) and a member from the Music National Teacher Association (MTNA). Starting learning piano at age four and she achieved Licentiate Piano Diploma (LTCL) from Trinity College of Music and Grade 8 in both piano and theory from ABRSM. She has experience working with students in both individual and group settings from age four to twenty-two. Her philosophy of teaching is to allow students to be able to musically express themselves, nurture them to be a better human being and ultimately enjoy playing the piano.
Mr. Ed began playing the piano at the age of six. A native of Rochester, NY, he earned a Bachelor of Music from Mansfield University and a Master of Music from Fredonia State College, with both degrees in Music Education. Before moving to Ohio, he was an adjunct piano class professor at Fredonia State College. He was also teaching assistant and accompanist to choirs at Rush-Henrietta High School. Mr. Ed has performed with SouthBrook Christian Church, Centerville Community Church, Dayton Art Institute, Fairfield Summer Theatre and Fairfield Show Choirs.
Upon her completion of a Master's Degree in Piano Performance under the tutelage of Dr. Siok Lian Tan at Miami University in 2018, Ms. Kang Ning became the Music Department leader at West Chester Academy. She serves as the private piano instructor, Royal Conservatory of Music National Teacher, and is certified to teach the Early Childhood Music program- Music for Young Children. Her experience in taking applied piano lessons and pedagogy courses with Dr. Tan has set her to be a well-rounded musician and a high demand piano teacher. Her teaching philosophy is to provide a comprehensive piano pedagogy approach that helps students thrive through music and develop a strong foundation for a lifetime of learning. Her students’ age and musical background range from 5 to 70 years old, beginning to late intermediate level. As a Classical pianist and Teaching Assistant at Miami University, she taught Functional Piano classes to undergraduate music major students, accompanied the Chamber Singers Choir, and collaborated with instrumentalists and singers for competitions and recitals. She also earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance with first-class honor at University Putra Malaysia in 2014. She received the Licentiate Trinity College London Recital Diploma with Distinction in 2015. Ms. Kang Ning has also been a member of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) since 2016 and has been actively attending the MTNA National Conference every year.
Ms. Reba is a Miami University (OH) graduate that has performed in countless productions with Miami Opera. As an undergraduate student majoring in Vocal Performance, she has played the roles of Fiordiligi in W.A. Mozart's opera Cosi fan tutte, Nancy in Benjamin Britten's opera Albert Herring, and Madeline/Isabelle in Henry Mollicone's one-act opera The Face on the Barroom Floor. She was also in productions such as A Grand Night for Singing, where she performed a rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, The Christmas Waltz, The Christmas Song, and many more. Ms. Reba has also received awards, such as, 1st place in the sophomore and freshman women categories at the NATS Buckeye Chapter competition, she also won 1st place in the Undergraduate Artist Competition held at Miami, and she was awarded the Richard Miller Award for Singing her sophomore year at the NATS Buckeye Chapter competition - this honor is awarded to the singer who best displays overall vocal excellence and performance.
Ms. Karen is an accomplished soprano soloist and choral director. Her degree is from Indiana University's Jacob's School of Music, where she studied voice with Virginia MacWatters and Martha Lipton. While there, she was a featured soloist with the “Singing Hoosiers”, directed by Robert Stoll. She has done post-graduate work at Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music and Miami University, studying with Renee Boyer-White, Ethan Sperry, and David Bell. She has also worked with prestigious choral arrangers and conductors such as Pepper Choplin, Joseph Martin, David Carrington, Arnold Eply, Lloyd Larson, Rollo Dillworth, and Moses Hogan. Ms. Karen proudly directs the Mason Chorale, Hamilton City School's All –City Elementary Honor Choir, and is the Music Director at Heritage Presbyterian Church in Mason.
Ms. Amy has a real love for working with kids and youth. Her appreciation of the arts has blossomed into the life of an artist in the areas of poetry, song writing, singing, sketch, and illustration. Ms. Amy's classical training in voice began at age fifteen and she continued with private lessons through age twenty. She has lived internationally several times, and at age sixteen her family moved to the former Soviet Union where she entered musical college to study voice as a mezzo-soprano. She has experience singing professionally across many genres of music; in rock, folk, bluegrass, country, pop, indie, commercial anthems, worship, musical theatre, classical voice, and has taught vocal workshops and private lessons. The voice is her instrument of choice, and she is passionate to communicate to her students that it is the best instrument. She can be seen performing around town on stage with her sister duo, "The Carolines," and has a solo album in progress.
Mr. Ben graduated from Ohio State University with a BA in psychology and with a music minor in 2016, and is currently pursuing a masters degree in Jazz Studies at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He currently holds the lead trombone chair in the CCM Jazz Orchestra. While at Ohio State, he performed as a member and squad leader in The Ohio State University Marching Band, the OSU Jazz Ensemble, and several other groups in the OSU School of Music. He has been playing trombone for 17 years, and has studied trombone technique privately with Joe Duchi of the Columbus Symphony, Jim Masters of the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, and Marc Fields of the Ray Charles Orchestra and the Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra. Mr. Ben performs frequently with the likes of Vaughn Weister’s Famous Jazz Orchestra and the Original Farm League Big Band, and has also performed with the Columbus and Cleveland Jazz Orchestras, The Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, Under The Streetlamp, Earl St. Clair, and many others. He is a first call trombonist in Columbus and a key member of several Columbus acts, including The Bluewater Kings, Al Son del Iya, The Big Badd, Kinfolk, and his own jazz sextet, BC6. Mr. Ben continues to do freelance work in Columbus and the surrounding areas, and is getting his feet wet here in the Cincinnati scene. He has been playing piano and guitar from an early age, and thoroughly enjoys working with young students and beginning adult students to get started on these instruments. He is also proficient on euphonium and trumpet, and has experience teaching brass instruments of all varieties. Mr. Ben firmly believes that the ability to understand and create music is a universal trait present in all human beings, and within all of us is a master artist waiting to emerge. He hopes to awaken in his students a sense of passion and a can-do attitude when it comes to playing an instrument and expressing oneself through music!
Mr. Emery received a Bachelor of Music degree from Belmont University in 2017, as well as a Master’s degree in Trumpet Performance from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). Currently, he is pursuing an Artist’s Diploma from CCM, where he is a member of the Graduate Brass Quintet. Mr. Emery has performed Quiet City with the CCM wind ensemble, and won a spot at the student performers concert at Belmont University. He is a substitute trumpet player in Evansville and Chattanooga. Mr. Emery has 8 years of teaching experience with both trumpet and French horn. His teachers include Michael Mergen, Phil Collins, Alan Siebert, and Joel Treybig.
Mr. Ken earned a Bachelors of Science in Music Education and Master of Music degrees from Miami University. Post-graduate studies in Music Education and Jazz Studies were taken at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Mr. Ken’s professional background includes performances with Dizzy Gillespie, the Manhattans, Mills Brothers, George Benson, and others. Trumpet studies include master classes with Bobby Shew, Arturo Sandoval, and Alan Vizzutti. Jazz ensembles in southwestern Ohio, of which he is a part, include Xavier University, Sinclair College (Dayton), Jazz Central Big Band (Dayton) and Maple Knoll Big Band (Cincinnati). Mr. Ken is also a part of the Miami University Campus Owls Tribute Band in Oxford. Mr. Ken’s professional affiliations include the American Federation of Musicians, National Association for Music Education, Ohio Music Education Association, and Jazz Education Connection of Ohio.
Ms. Chung-Hsien received her doctoral degree and master degree from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music. Currently. She is on the flute faculty of the Preparatory Department at the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music and is a substitute flutist in the Lima Orchestra. She has studied and performed the piano since the age of 7. Ms. Chung-Hsien has played in numerous concerts with several orchestras as a flute principal and piccolo player and in recitals as a soloist. She has studied with Dr. Garner, Prof. Demarre McGill, Prof. Randy Bowman and Prof. Henrik Heide. Ms. Chung-Hsien attended Académie Internationale D'été De and studied with Maestro Claude Lefebvre and Philippe Pierlot in 2013 and William Bennett Flute Masterclass in 2012. As an educator, Ms. Chung-Hsien has been teaching students age 4 years old to adult, levels beginner to professional for more than 10 years. She is a very experienced teacher with patience and teaching passion. Her students have received excellent grades and comments from RCM exams and annual recitals.
Ms. Karen received her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from the Jordan College of Fine Arts at Butler University in 1993. She has studied with Loretta Contino and Jack Wellbaum, former piccolist of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. She currently holds a Master’s degree in elementary education and teaches Kindergarten at Bethany School in Glendale. Before that, she taught first grade and flute lessons at the School for Creative and Performing Arts for 5 years. She was principal flute of the West Chester Symphony Orchestra from 2012-2017 and is now playing with the Southern Ohio Symphonic Band. Ms. Karen has made recordings with Celebrate the Spirit, a contemporary guitar group, played in numerous pit orchestras in the city, freelances weddings and other venues and is a flutist at St. Maximilian Kolbe Church.
Ms. Kate is a clarinetist in the Cincinnati area who is passionate about sharing music with others through teaching, collaborating, and performing. She completed a Master of Music degree in Clarinet Performance at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is currently continuing her studies at CCM with a Doctor of Musical Arts degree and serves as the Graduate Assistant in Clarinet. In Cincinnati, she’s performed with the CCM Wind Ensemble, Concert Orchestra, and Chamber Winds ensembles as well as the Queen City Orchestra and several musical theater pits. In the summer of 2016, Ms. Kate was invited to attend the Music Academy International in Trento, Italy, where she performed in the pit orchestra for the production of Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutti. She was a finalist in the Lawrence University Wind Ensemble Concerto Competition in 2017 and was given a Graduate Incentive Award at CCM in 2018. Ms. Kate holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Clarinet Performance as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics from Lawrence University, both of which she received in 2018. Her primary teachers include Christopher Pell, David Bell, Andrew Marriner, Amy McCann, and Meghan Cabral. She is a member of Sigma Alpha Iota National Women’s Music Fraternity as well as Phi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society.
Mr. Chuck graduated from Middletown H.S. Class Of '72, mentored during that time by William Steihl, including private studies with Ray Brandoff. He also played with the Miami University Symphony Orchestra during Junior and Senior year of H.S., Southwest Regional Symphony, Southwest Ohio Symphonic Band. Mr. Chuck studied music at the University of Cincinnati Conservatory and Marin College in California. His early professional career includes tours with the Ohio Players, Rare Earth, and other Motown artists. Mr. Chuck has performed professionally with the Avenues, the Randy Linville Big Band. He has played with Blue Stone Ivory and Inspector 12. Mr. Chuck has performed with Bobby Rydell and Fabian as well as other touring professionals. He also performs regularly as a solo artist in the tri-state area. He has been teaching for 30+ years.
Mr. Rob is a Cincinnati-based jazz guitarist and composer. He holds a bachelor’s degree In Jazz Studies from The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of music, where he studied under Jim Smith and Brad Meyers. Mr. Rob is currently an active gigging musician around Cincinnati, playing with The Jazz Coasters, The Hot Magnolias and The Blue Water Kings to name a few. He has played with Wynton Marsalis and JLCO in Brazil as well as John and Gerald Clayton, The Columbus Jazz Orchestra, Byron Stripling, Craig Baily, Dwight Adams, Jim Masters, Mandy Gaines and Tony Franklin. In terms of teaching, Mr. Rob favors a holistic approach favoring student interest primarily, but also incorporating substantial theory, technique, LOTS of ear training as well as some mindset practices involving the creative space.
Mr. Dave has taught Music Theory, Keyboard Theory and Guitar Theory at the Post-secondary level and incorporates elements of Theory, Ear Training, and the Nashville Number System at all Levels of Instruction in addition to teaching Guitar, Bass, Piano, Banjo. He was the Bass Player for the rock group Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods (originally from Cincinnati) when the 1974 hit “Billy, Don't Be a Hero” achieved “#1 with a Bullet” status on Billboard Magazine's “Hot 100” for which he received a Gold Record. The group appeared on many TV Shows such as Dick Clark's American Bandstand, Action '73 (and '74), Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and Dinah Shore. Mr. Dave has relocated from Florida to the Cincinnati Area to be centrally located amongst his Children/Grandchildren. As a “Southerner”, Mr. Dave served as Rhythm Guitarist (and Bass Guitarist when needed) at a church that held services nationwide and were seen on GOD-TV worldwide. As a Faculty Member at Brownsville Revival School of Ministry at Brownsville Assembly of God from 1999 to 2006, Mr. Dave arranged for Worship Teams and Choirs and taught students enrolled in the Worship Ministry curriculum how to create Master Lead Sheets, Chord Charts with Rhythmic Notation, and write Vocal and Horn Parts for Small Ensembles and Choirs. He has a special love for Musical Theatre and has played Bass Guitar, Rhythm Guitar and Ragtime Banjo in the Orchestra Pits for The Sound of Music, Frog & Toad, Godspell, The Wizard of Oz, Fiddler on the Roof, Snoopy the Musical, Meshuggah-Nuns, Hairspray, High School Musical, Victor/Victoria, Sweet Charity, Floyd Collins, and Seussical the Musical. Mr. Dave has a Master Certificate in Arranging from BerkleeMusic Online (Berklee College of Music, Boston, MA).
Born the son of a drummer, Mr. Charlie has been playing drums and cymbals since he was a boy sitting on his father's lap, and taking piano lessons since age 7. Growing up fishing through his fathers record collection, he fell in love with everything from Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix to Coltrane and Miles Davis. He earned his Bachelor's degree in Music Education and Jazz Studies from UC-CCM, where he met some of his closest musical friends and bandmates who have collectively released 4 albums in different iterations. Mr. Charlie has been teaching private lessons for over 7 years and is a highly in-demand drummer around the jazz scene in Cincinnati. You might see him playing with any group from The Blue Wisp Big Band, Kathy Wade, Steve Schmidt, or Blossom Hall (Garage Pop), to Broken Chairs (Punk Rock), etc. He also remains very active with his own groups: Daybreaker, On a Limb (set to release their second album summer 2020), and the Eric Wurzelbacher Quartet, who had the fortune of playing at the 2019 Newport Jazz Festival.
Mr. Hayden is a fourth-year student attending the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Music Education with a jazz emphasis. He grew up in Centerville, Ohio and has been playing the drums for over twelve years. During that time, he’s studied under many great drummers including Jim Leslie, John Von Ohlen, Art Gore, John Taylor, Steve Houghton, Carl Allen, and Jeff Hamilton. He’s played in the University of Cincinnati CCM Jazz Orchestra which has taken him to Brazil to play alongside Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center. Mr. Hayden plays in many big bands around Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus Ohio, and Kentucky and regularly plays in a trio setting. He frequently plays at Dee Felice, Muse Café, Stone Creek Restaurant, and Schwartz’s Point. Mr. Hayden is very well versed in soul, funk, rock, jazz, and Latin music. He also has a classical background which he utilizes in pit orchestras all around Ohio and Kentucky.
Ms. Diana is a cellist and music educator based in Cincinnati. She holds and Undergraduate and Masters Degree in music performance from the Longy School of Music and Chicago College of Performing Arts, respectively. Ms. Diana has performed extensively throughout the United States, Canada, Brazil, China, Japan and her home country of Costa Rica. She has been a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, Tanglewood Music Center and Pacific Music Festival. Ms. Diana has recently finished an Artist Diploma from CCM and a Fellowship with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. She is an active chamber and orchestral musician in the Cincinnati area.
Ms. Naomi earned her Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance from Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and is currently completing her Masters in Cello performance from CCM as well. She has experience playing in solo, chamber, and orchestral settings and won honorable mentions in the David L. Pierson Young Musicians Concerto Competition in 2010 and 201l. Along with teaching private students, she plays with the Belle trio and The Rose Trio, and is a substitute for the Kentucky and Blue Ash Symphony.
Ms. Tera graduated from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music with a degree in Music Education. She also pursued graduate studies in violin performance and education at Kent State University. She has studied with Ronald Konieczka (Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra), Si-Hon Ma (Kent State University) and Bernhard Goldschmidt (Cleveland Orchestra). Ms. Tera directed the orchestra program in Wooster, Ohio and later joined the faculty at Kent State University, Stark Campus, and taught Suzuki violin. She helped start a Suzuki Program at Southern Illinois University, while she was teaching at Unity Point School District and directing the Carbondale Community High School Orchestra. Currently, Ms. Tera maintains a private studio through Princeton High School in Cincinnati since 1982 and has taught many outstanding young people. Her students have been in Cincinnati Jr. Strings, Cincinnati Youth Symphony Orchestra, and Regional and State Orchestras. She has performed with the Canton Symphony Orchestra and is currently performing with the Middletown Symphony Orchestra, Clermont Philharmonic Orchestra, Hamilton-Fairfield Symphony Orchestra and Lebanon Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. Matthew is currently working on his doctoral degree in Violin Performance at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Throughout his university education Matthew has studied with Professor Piotr Milewski, Professor Kurt Sassmanshaus, Professor Stefan Milenkovich, and Professor Giora Schmidt. Mr. Matthew actively performs in orchestras in the region, including as a second violin principal at the Lima Symphony Orchestra. He has performed in the U.S., as well as internationally in Poland (St. John’s Archcathedral in Warsaw, Łańcut International Summer Festival), South Korea, and the Vatican City.
Ms. Alayne is a violinist, private instructor, and arts administrator based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her creative yet detail-oriented approach to the violin translates into passionate and dynamic performances, engaging and effective teaching, and organized and inspired arts administration. A graduate from Kenyon College (’17) with a dual degree in Music and Sociology, she holds such achievements as the Thomas B. and Mary M. Greenslade Award for Music Performance, the first place prize in the 2017 Knox County Symphony Young Musicians Competition, and Distinction in Music for her senior comprehensive exercise. After graduating from Kenyon College, Ms. Alayne pursued a freelance career in music across Central Ohio and discovered her passion for bringing communities together through creative musical performances. She performed with several regional orchestras and ensembles, built a sizable studio of violin students, became involved in local arts administration, and created several original projects ranging from house concerts to large showcase events. Ms. Alayne currently resides in Cincinnati and has completed her first year of a Master of Music degree for Violin Performance at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
Ms. Angela has been in the performing arts since she took up dancing at three years old. She began singing in middle school and dove into musical theatre in high school. After studying English literature and secondary education at Washington University in St. Louis, she decided to combine her passions for English and theatre by earning her Master of Letters and Master of Fine Arts degrees in Shakespeare and Performance from Mary Baldwin University. Since then, she has been working as a professional theatre artist and teacher with groups such as Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company and St. Andrews University. No matter her students’ ages or experience levels, she’s dedicated to developing their skills and confidence, whether their goal is acting professionally or simply feeling more comfortable being themselves.
Mr. Francis, a transplanted Rhode Islander, has held virtually every position in the theatre: actor, coach, director, playwright, professor, singer, stage combat choreographer, and more. His play Another Part of the Field was selected for the New Play Lab at the William Inge Theater Festival where he workshopped with Tony Nominee Lee Blessing and Tony Award winners Daisy Eagan and David Henry Hwang. Francis has also worked with Pigeon Creek Shakespeare, Thomas More College, St. Andrews University, Brown Mackie Cincinnati, and Children’s Performing Arts of Miamisburg, and many community theatre groups. He earned his BFA in theatre from the University of Rhode Island, and his MLitt and MFA in Shakespeare and Performance from Mary Baldwin University. His classes emphasize challenging work, positive reinforcement, and fun.
Ms. Jennifer has been teaching dance in the Cincinnati area for over 15 years. She first pursued her interest in dance at the age of three and was trained in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Pointe, Lyrical and Adagio. She was also very accomplished in the competition arena. While in high school, Ms. Jennifer was captain of her dance team and was invited to perform at the Blue Bonnet Bowl in Texas and the Hula Bowl in Hawaii. She attended Ohio State University where she continued to study dance and performed with the OSU dance team. With a degree in education, Ms. Jennifer started her work with young adults as the Director of the Centerville High School’s dance team and helped lead them to several State titles. She has also been awarded many national choreography awards in both Lyrical and Jazz. She has choreographed and taught many award winning teams; many of them taking overall awards at competitions both regionally and nationally. She has had many of her students further their dance careers at colleges throughout the country and several of them working in the dance field post-graduation. Ms. Jennifer truly loves working with her students and brings that passion to the classroom.
Ms. Savannah of Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania, trained at the New Paltz Ballet Theater with former New York City Ballet members Peter Naumann and Lisa Chalmers-Naumann, as well as former Radio City Rockette, Deanna Ford. One of her favorite performances includes the ballet/opera Carmina Burana, where she danced the leading role of The Girl in Red with Principal dancer of New York City Ballet, Nilas Martins. Ms. Savannah was accepted into many prestigious schools throughout her training, such as the School of American Ballet, San Fransisco Ballet, Kaatsbaan Extreme, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Miami City Ballet, and Cincinnati Ballet. In 2005, she joined the National Broadway tour of Contact, performing at countless theaters throughout the United States and Canada. Shortly after, she enjoyed a season of varied repertoire as a trainee with the Cincinnati Ballet. She worked with such choreographers as Mark Godden, Shelly Washington, Graham Lustig and Alun Jones as a member of Louisville Ballet. Some of her performances include Eight Ladies in Vespri in the production of Visionary Forces and the pas de trois of Chinese in The Nutcracker. Ms. Savannah joined Columbus Dance Theatre in 2008 as company member, performing a variety of both contemporary and classical pieces in both Soloist and Principal roles. She is certified and licensed to teach Progressing Ballet Technique. Ms. Savannah has been a teacher and choreographer throughout her performing career and is very passionate about doing so for many years to come.
Ms. McKenzie trained at Toledo Ballet under the direction of Lisa Mayer and Michael Lang. There she had the opportunity to work with professionals including Soili Arvola, Tricia Albertson, Olga Pavlova, and Renato Penteado. Ms. McKenzie is also a graduate of Toledo School for the Arts with a Dance Major Certificate. She has performed in Bolero with the Verb Ballets, and work by Kora Radella, founder of the Boomerang Dance Company. Ms. McKenzie danced with The Dancing Wheels Company which was her first exposure to physically integrated dance (combining dancers with and without disabilities). She then worked with Atlanta’s own physically integrated dance company and founder of The Modern Atlanta Dance Festival, Full Radius Dance. Ms. McKenzie has also been an artist with Gotta Dance Contemporary, Dance Canvas, and performed as a dancer for Maya Kodes at Georgia Institute of Technology. She most recently was a trainee with the Big Muddy Dance Company in Saint Louis. She moved back to Ohio to be closer to her family and is excited to be part of West Chester Academy.
Ms. Stacie began dancing at Downie School of Dance in Fairfield, OH when she was 9 years old. Later renamed The Dance Company, she studied tap, jazz, ballet, pointe, lyrical, hip hop and acrobatics for over 10 years under Elizabeth Eckhoff. She has performed with the Greater Hamilton Civic Theatre, and loves to continue her education with different genres of dance as often as possible including Bollywood, swing, and modern. Ms. Stacie loves sharing these techniques and styles with her students in order to ensure a well-rounded dance education, and hopefully spark a lifelong passion for the arts.
Ms. Liz began her dance career at age 12, taking class at a local studio in Mason, Ohio. While dancing, she was a student teacher and quickly realized her love of teaching children. After high school, she began teaching dance and has choreographed many award winning routines. Ms. Liz attended the University of Cincinnati, receiving her Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education. Ms. Liz is very excited to join the West Chester Academy family and share her love of teaching with our students!
Ms. Ariel started taking gymnastics classes at age seven and then began her dance career after watching a friend's recital. She started out in instructional tap and quickly joined the competition tap team the next year. Ms. Ariel has training in instructional tap, jazz, lyrical, and ballet as well as competitive tap. The competition teams, of which she was a member, won many overall awards at the Stage One Nationals in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee for three years in a row. Her inspiration is watching her students improve each and every week. Ms. Ariel's greatest reward is seeing that she has inspired them to have a lifetime appreciation of dance.
Ms. Olivia found her love for dance at age three. She was trained in Cincinnati, with Ms. Jennifer as one of her teachers. She has experience in ballet, pointe, tap, jazz and lyrical. In high school, she was very involved in competitions receiving many overall awards. Ms. Olivia student taught during high school and then continued on with her own classroom for three years after graduating. She loves choreographing and challenging her students. She attended Miami University for English with a minor in Spanish. Ms. Olivia is currently pursuing a Master's degree in school counseling.
Ms. Nicole began dancing at age 3 but at age 12, she really discovered her love of dance studying under Ms. Jennifer at Oui Danse. She performed with her teams at numerous competitions and won many overall awards throughout high school. Ms. Nicole was also awarded a Rising Star Specal Award at Stage One Nationals in 2006. Along with competiting, she studied ballet and pointe under Nancy Fountain and Daniel Simmons at Ballet Theatre midwest for 3 years. While there she performed in The Steadfast Tin Soldier and Cinderella with Solist roles. Ms. Nicole participated in different summer ballet intensive programs at Cincinnati Ballet and Nutmeg Conservatory of the Arts in Torrington, Conneciciut. After graduating in 2008, Ms. Nicole went on to study nursing and dance at Otterbein University. While there she studied tap, jazz, modern, ballet, pointe and musical theatre. Ms. Nicole is extremely excited to share her passion of dance with her students.
Ms. Andrea began dance at the age of 6 for Darla's Dance studio. At 6 she joined The Dance Line Express where she danced competitively for 10 years. She has studied tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, clogging and hip-hop. She has over 16 years of dancing experience combined with 6 years of teaching experience. Ms. Andrea is very eager to work with the budding new dancers and believes that building good core dance skills are important for the futures of our tiny dancers.
Ms. Kaitlyn started her dance career at age 4 at Oui Danse, and later West Chester Dance Academy under the instruction of Denise Edsall and Ms. Jennifer. She trained competitievly in jazz, lyrical, and tap. After graduating high school, Ms. Kaitlyn attended Clemson University with a major in Communications. There she was a member of the TigerStrut competition team. She also taught a contemporary class for Clemson Dancers. During her college years, she began her teaching career at The Dance Warehouse in styles of jazz, tap, lyrical, broadway, and hip hop. She received several choreography awards and had a soloist win first overall at StarPower nationals. Ms. Kaitlyn believes that hard work and determination can lead to greatness and is very excited to be working with the beautiful dancers of West Chester Academy.
Ms. Tejal is originally from Bollywood City – Mumbai, India. She has lived in Cincinnati since 2001. She has a passion for dance and loves to learn new dance styles. She has been teaching kids Bollywood Dance as well as other Indian Folk Dances for more than 12 years. She has 2 daughters who share her passion for dance. Ms. Tejal is excited to introduce the Bollywood style of dance to West Chester Academy.
Ms. Allison joins the West Chester Academy family with 30 years of dance experience. A Florida State University theatre and dance grad, Ms. Allison has had the privilege of studying with Ballet Florida, Palm Beach Ballet Center and Performing with the Miami City Ballet’s The Nutcracker. In 2001, she was featured in opening the Gregory Hine’s Show and was mentored by Broadway performer and choreographer Garry Q. Lewis. Her favorite styles are musical theatre, tap, and jazz. Ms. Allison resides in the Liberty Twp. area with her husband and three year old daughter, Taylen, who is already showing signs of following in her mother’s footsteps.
Coach Rob has spent most of his life involved in gymnastics and cheerleading starting at age 4 with recreational gymnastics and progressing to competitive levels through high school. After completing high school, he attended college where he was a cheerleader. Coach Rob is an accredited member of USA Gymnastics which requires extensive training in safe sports. He has coached all levels and most recently worked with levels 7-10. He was honored to have coached state, regional and national qualifiers and champions. In addition, he has been selected numerous times as a clinician at regional camps and clinics. After working several years as a coach, Coach Rob helped open a family gymnastic business, Flip n Twist Gymnastics. He spent the past 18 years managing and coaching at Flip n Twist Gymnastics and has now joined the staff at West Chester Academy. When not instructing gymnastics, he enjoys watching football, fishing, traveling and being with friends.
Coach Jamie began gymnastics at age 2 in a small town in Illinois and began competing around age 8. She competed throughout the states of Illinois and Missouri until she was 16 and retired from competitive gymnastics at level 9. Coach Jamie began coaching private lessons and parent-tot classes when she was 14 and continued coaching private lessons, parent-tot classes, and competitive gymnastics for many years. With her love of gymnastics and high energy, Coach Jamie began cheerleading in middle school and cheered on the varsity squad freshman through senior year of high school. During high school, Coach Jamie participated in and also helped pilot, coach, and choreograph a competitive cheer team. She was also a college cheerleader at Eastern Illinois University. During college, Coach Jamie met her husband, Scott, and moved to Ohio where she is now a kindergarten teacher in Hamilton City Schools. She coached competitive gymnasts briefly before moving on to coach Hamilton High School’s varsity gymnastics team. Coach Jamie and her husband now have two children, Micah and Esli, and she is very excited to be part of the West Chester Academy family. Coach Jamie truly believes that small things done with great love will change the world. Her hope is to not only grow children into incredible gymnasts, but also to be a positive influence on them and help them reach their highest potential both personally and athletically. She believes that forming relationships with the gymnasts and their families along with challenging children to always do their best will have the greatest impact on their gymnastics experiences. Gymnastics had such a huge impact on Coach Jamie and helped her to become the person she is today; she is very excited to be passing that experience on to the next generation of gymnasts.
Coach Stacie began gymnastics lessons when she was 6 years old, and gravitated towards acrobatics a few years later. She is USAG Safety and Risk Management certified, as well as CPR and First Aid certified. Besides gymnastics, she has 15 years of dance experience ranging from ballet to hip hop to modern. She practices yoga and enjoys blending dance technique, gymnastic instruction, and yoga discipline. She finds that it creates a stronger athlete overall. While participating in a dance workshop a few years ago, she discovered the art of Aerial Silks and fell in love with it. Coach Stacie has trained under Erin Welch and Tracey Wozny and is fond of sharing this unique and challenging art form with her students, both dance and gymnastics alike.
Coach Olivia was a cheerleader and gymnast from the start of 1st grade to the end of her senior year in high school. She is a Lakota West graduate and now attends the University of Cincinnati. Coach Olivia is a Middle Childhood Education major and has a great passion for working with kids. She is a certified tumbling instructor and is CPR certified through the American Red Cross. Coach Olivia says her favorite part about working in the gym is cultivating new relationships with students and parents. She has been coaching at West Chester Academy since 2017. When outside of the gym, Coach Olivia dedicates her time to getting involved within her university. She also volunteers for a non profit sports organization. She loves spending time with her family and friends and her favorite hobby is traveling!
Coach Nicole started her gymnastics journey at age six and competed nationally until she was about fifteen. While competing, she was nationally ranked in the top ten in her age group. During her elementary and high school career, she was a cheerleader at Lakota West High School. She now attends Miami University majoring in Biology, studying to become a pharmacist. Coach Nicole has been coaching at West Chester Academy since 2016, has much experience, and is tumbling certified. She enjoys dedicating her time to coaching. Coach Nicole loves spending her free time with her friends and family when she isn’t busy studying. She loves to connect with her students and help them fall in love with the sport and become better athletes overall.
Coach Ashley began participating in gymnastics when she was two years old and she performed competitively for 14 years. She graduated from Lakota West High School in 2018 and currently attends the University of Cincinnati. She is majoring in Medical Sciences and plans to become a pediatrician in the future. Coach Ashley is also part of the UC club gymnastics team. Coach Ashley loves the sport of gymnastics and everything that it has taught her. She has been coaching gymnastics since she was in high school and loves to coach because it gives her the opportunity to pass her love for the sport down to young gymnasts. In her free time, coach Ashley loves spending time with her friends and family as well as volunteering at a Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.